New Hampshire-based Iron Heart Mobile Canning will expand its presence in the south with the acquisition of Nashville’s Toucan Mobile Canning LLC.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Iron Heart is the largest mobile canning company in the U.S. and services breweries, cideries, wineries and coffee roasters. It now operates 26 canning lines with more than 250 clients in 18 states.
Last year, Iron Heart filled about 17 million cans, and company president Joe Marston told Brewbound that he anticipates nearly doubling the output in 2017, to 30 million cans, with the purchase of Toucan.
Toucan had been working with 32 clients across Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama, according to company founder and managing partner Mo Oelker, who will now serve as Iron Heart’s director of business development.
Year-to-date, Oelker said Toucan has filled more than 3 million cans via three canning lines. The company operated out of three warehouses — in Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; and Nashville, Tennessee. Those locations will be added to Iron Heart’s footprint of 11 facilities in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, New Jersey, New York and a soon-to-open warehouse west of Philadelphia.
Oelker said he and Iron Heart founder and CEO Tyler Wille had been discussing a deal for several years but “serious discussions” began at the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference. The two first met at the 2013 CBC, when they were both launching their canning businesses.
As part of the deal, Oelker’s son, Carl Oelker, will serve as Iron Heart’s south divisional lead and oversee the former Toucan operational territory as well as a statewide expansion in Florida that is set to begin on October 1. Toucan had been servicing the Florida Panhandle, working with clients such at Grayton Beer Company in Santa Rosa Beach.
Iron Heart plans to launch in central Florida — between Tampa and Orlando — with one canning line to service customers statewide, Oelker said. The company is still in the process of securing a warehouse, he added.
“The Florida market, we think, is just primed for us and canning,” Joe Marston told Brewbound. “The year-round summer season mostly bodes well for cans, and [the state has] a lot of up-and-coming breweries. It’s a very attractive location for us, and we expect some pretty quick, positive results”
Oelker said he also sees a big opportunity to grow Iron Heart’s canning business in Georgia due to a change in a state laws, which are set to go into effect in September. Those changes will enable beer companies to sell up to 3,000 barrels of beer directly to consumers via brewery taprooms annually, and give drinkers the chance to purchase one case of to-go beer per week.
Iron Heart added two new Georgia customers in Georgia in August, Oelker said, and has fielded calls from several more breweries-in-planning.
Earlier this year, Iron Heart acquired Asheville, North Carolina’s Land of the Sky Mobile Canning, and in 2016, the company purchased Ohio-based Buckeye Canning and Virginia-based Old Dominion Mobile Canning.
While he didn’t rule out continued expansion, Marston said Iron Heart is primarily focused on launching its services into the Pennsylvania and Florida markets.